by Niall Doherty

I’d rather live a life of “oh well’s” than a life of “what if’s.” – unknown

I was at a popular ruin pub called Szimpla here in Budapest a few weeks back. Standing at the bar with my friend Diego, my attention was drawn to a buzzing high table nearby. Around it were a dozen or so guys and girls, looking like they’d just stepped out of a hip magazine.

One of the girls in particular was drop dead gorgeous. Besides having a pretty face and amazing hair, she was also rocking a funky hat, and you know I’m just a sucker for a girl in a funky hat.

Within three seconds of spotting her, I asked Diego to excuse me and walked directly towards the table. I tapped Hat Girl on the shoulder and she turned to face me, a quizzical look on her face.

— Hey, don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but you look absolutely adorable in that hat and I just had to come meet you.

As she smiled, I could feel the attention of all her friends shifting towards me. So I added, with a smile of my own…

— Oh shit, is one of these guys here your boyfriend? Because that would be really awkward.

Hat Girl pointed across the table to the biggest guy in the group; 6-foot-6, built like a tank, and staring right at me. I held my smile and added a shrug in his direction. Raising my voice so he could hear me across the table…

Sorry man, I just tried to hit on your girlfriend. You gotta teach me how to get a girl like this.

His stare softened, his face beginning to show a hint of amusement. I turned back to the girl.

— Well, I’m going to slink away now to avoid any further embarrassment. But I’m glad we had this time together.

With that I turned and went back to join Diego at the bar, who was shaking his head in disbelief.

— Hey man, I told him, I had to try.

Oh Well’s versus What If’s

Some folks have asked if I’ve continued to work on my flirting skills since I tried hitting on 100+ women in Amsterdam last November.

The answer is yes, though not with the same sort of intensity. I’ve probably approached close to another 100 women in the seven weeks I’ve been in Budapest.

I feel I’ve made steady progress, grown even more comfortable in my own skin, even less likely to let irrational fear get the best of me and not go talk to a girl I’m attracted to. But it does still happen that I chicken out every so often and pass up an opportunity. And it’s also still pretty common for me to approach an attractive woman and get rejected outright.

I’ve noticed though that the rejections never sting as much as the times I fail to try. Without a doubt, the oh wells are easier to swallow than the what if’s.

And, in case it’s not obvious, this doesn’t just apply to romance.

Whatever it is you really want out of life, go and give it your best shot. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, well, at least you did your part.

And that’s all you really have to do: your part.

Nobody wins the lottery without at least buying a ticket.

Sometimes fate (or destiny, or whatever you want to call it) will meet you in the middle. And that’s magic. Other times though, you’ll be left waiting there alone, and fate will never show up, and you’ll feel like a failure. But take solace in the fact that you did your part. You put yourself out there and gave yourself a shot. That’s really all you can do. The rest isn’t up to you.

Celebrate that magic when it happens. When it doesn’t, shrug it off and try again.

Yes, it still stings. But a lot less than never trying at all.